“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
― Elbert Hubbard, Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great Vol. 3: American Statesmen
I'll admit it, I've been hesitant to post a lot of online content because I'm afraid of the criticism. A lot of my worries and anxieties in the past have stemmed from concern about other people's opinions. What if they didn't like me or my work? This has been something I have dealt with throughout my life.
I now work in an industry that is notorious for it's copious amounts of fruitless criticism: the health and wellness industry. It seems like there is always someone lurking anonymously behind a computer screen ready to share a negative comment. It can be disheartening and downright infuriating, but in most cases, I've found it is best to leave these comments ignored and untouched.
Recently, I posted a video of myself demonstrating a few Amarra's (twirling sets) from my martial arts training in EHAMA Eskrima. Amarra can be described as a mini kata, great for solo practice with the stick. I decided to reverse the order of the sequence, just to challenge my coordination and my brain. For some reason the video picked up more views and comments than usual, including a couple of negative ones. The comments ranged from "I don't know what I am doing and they hope I don't accept money at my McDojo", to attacks about the way I look and dress. That's what prompted me to type up this blog post and I apologize if it comes across as a rant..
I have to remind myself that these people often lack context and information to truly make a logical critique about myself and my content. It's easy to be critical of others when you hide behind the safety of a computer screen. Have you ever noticed how often these critics use fake profile pictures and names. They often keep their profile private so you can't see anything about them. To be rather blunt, they are cowards. They won't put their name and face to their comments. In those cases, it's probably a sign that they know what they are saying is wrong and hurtful.
I agree with entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk (Vee), if a person consumes content and then takes the time to leave negative feedback, they are probably dealing with unhappiness in their own life. They are taking their unhappiness, pain, and frustration out on someone else to try and make themselves feel better. I feel sorry for them.
If I take the time to consume someone's content and I don't find it useful, then I just leave it at that. I'm not going to spread negativity on their social media in an attempt to tear them down, and with the hopes to lift myself up. I'd rather take the time to leave positive comments on the information I find useful.
Remember, there is such a thing as constructive criticism and we can make use of it if we have an open mind. However, fruitless negative criticism doesn't help us improve. Ask yourself, is there anything useful I can take from this comment? If not, maybe it's best to disregard it and keep moving forward.
Just like Gary Vee, I'd like to help spread gratitude and positivity. Sure, I make mistakes and sometimes my content isn't going to connect with everyone, but I always do my best. I'm going to keep putting out as much content as I can and I hope someone finds it useful. I won't let the haters stop me. Part of living "That Superhero Life" is to be courageous enough to share your true, authentic self and take your own path, no matter what others say.
The theme of being true to yourself and following your own path have been prevalent in the last two highly successful superhero movies. Both Thor in Avengers: Endgame and Peter Parker in Spiderman: Far From Home have wrestled with this topic, so us mortals are not the only ones.
My hope for you is that you'll be brave enough to share your unique content with the world, and not let other people's negativity stop you. Once we stop letting other people's opinions guide our actions, there is a certain freedom that opens up in our life. My wish is for all of us to experience that.